Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Moon Landing: It Happened

Apparently more and more Americans are starting to believe that the moon landing was a hoax. It wasn't. It's a subject I've researched extensively and to be honest I find most of the people out there crowing about Apollo 11 being a hoax to be insufferable kill-joys. No matter the evidence to the contrary, they insist that mankind's most wondrous technological achievement could never have happened. I find it sad. There are a number of great articles (and a Mythbusters episode) out there refuting the arguments of the hoax proponents, but the funny thing is how much common sense evidence is right in front of Americans' faces:
  • Real conspiracies don't stay quiet- People can't keep their mouths shut when there is a juicy secret. For example, the FDA has not been able to keep its former employees from telling the world about the dangers of MSG and artificial sweeteners. The cattle barons couldn't keep Oprah from doing a whole show devoted to their mistreatment of animals and people with footage obtained through secret cameras and willing slaughterhouse workers. And while Bernie Madoff committed ultra-secret fraud for decades, even he was caught. There's always a whistleblower, an investigative reporter, witnesses, victims, and inconvenient photographs. Most of the conspiracy theorists seem to think that the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs were made up of a few government types, a few scientists and the astronauts. The reality is that it was a massive undertaking that required thousands and thousands of people. (Take note, that means thousands and thousands of jobs. Forget the stimulus, let's head to Mars.) There were rocket scientists and engineers in Huntsville, NASA controllers in Houston, staff at Cape Canaveral who actually did the launches, engineers and factory workers from various contractors and subcontractors like Grumman Aerospace, Pratt and Whitney, Beech Aircraft and North American Rockwell to assemble the massive amounts of necessary equipment, the astronauts who crewed the missions, back up crews, doctors and medical staff, families who lived on base, and then maintenance staff to keep the whole thing running.   In the fifty-some-odd years since the space program first got going, none of those people have come forward purporting to have any credible evidence that the moon landing was a hoax. Which means that all the "evidence" of a hoax comes from people who have no first hand experience or involvement whatsoever with the space program.
  • Qualifications? And along those lines it should be noted that among the conspiracy theorists there are few experts in film, photography, physics, or engineering. Which means that the "evidence" for arguments in favor of a moon landing hoax comes from people who are not qualified in the fields in which they are claiming special knowledge.
  • Kaput! And finally, if the moon landing really was a hoax, the stories of the space program would be a whole lot slicker without as many mistakes. Like we would have faked footage of the Apollo 12 landing to keep us peasants happy and believing in the government's awesome power. But we don't have any footage from the Apollo 12 landing beyond a big white flash and then blackness because astronaut Alan Bean accidentally pointed the camera at the sun during the live broadcast. (This was a big disappointment for my dad. He was crazy about the space program and was over the moon- no pun intended- when the Apollo 12 landing was set to take place on his birthday. He got up early to watch it and was subsequently disappointed when the camera was fried and the news media had to ad lib the rest of the broadcast.) If the moon landing were a hoax, the Apollo 13 disaster would not have been broadcast for the whole world. When you are trying to pull the wool over people's eyes and impress them with their government's supposed awesome power, you never, ever, ever release stories of weakness and disaster. You only tell the good parts. Case in point, the Soviet space program started out with a bang, but couldn't keep up with the US. Rather than tell their people that the Americans had superior technology (and quality control), they simply hushed up a lot of mistakes and deaths as best they could. The deaths of some cosmonauts weren't actually confirmed until the information leaked out after the Cold War ended. In contrast, every mistake of the US space program was broadcast for the world to see. Washington was so infuriated with the fatal Apollo 1 fire that they almost pulled the plug on the space program right then and there.
So have a look at the original footage of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon and take a moment to enjoy the "Wow!" factor. =)

1 comment:

  1. I actually find conversations with conspiracy theorists to be highly entertaining. Everything you have to prove them them wrong they just respond with, "That's what they want you to believe." And then they are off running. Good times.